Royal Canadian Navy’s First AOPS Vessel Future HMCS Harry DeWolf Departs for Final Sea Trials

The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN)’s lead Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS), the future HMCS Harry DeWolf (AOPV 430), has departed Halifax for her final sea trials on July 10.

The trials will verify major ship systems and overall performance in preparation for delivery of the vessel to RCN later this summer, while also allowing the Navy to conduct crew training.

Construction of future HMCS Harry DeWolf started at Halifax Shipyard in September 2015 and the ship was launched on September 15, 2018. The vessel commenced her initial builder’s sea trials last year.

At 103 metres and 6,615 tonnes, the future HMCS Harry DeWolf is the largest Royal Canadian Navy ship built in Canada in 50 years.

Harry DeWolf-class Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS)

The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) is acquiring six patrol vessels through the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) project which is part of the National Shipbuilding Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS). The vessels are designated the Harry DeWolf-class in honour of Vice-Admiral Harry DeWolf, a Canadian wartime naval hero.

HMCS Harry DeWolf (AOPV 430)
The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN)’s lead Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS), the future HMCS Harry DeWolf (AOPV 430), departing Halifax for her final sea trials on July 10, 2020. Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Photo.

AOPS Specifications:

+ Length: 103 metres
+ Beam (width): 19 metres
+ Complement (capacity): 65

AOPS Features:

+ Integrated Bridge Navigation System: This is a modern integrated bridge, where the ship’s crew can control the navigation, machinery, and damage control systems can be performed.

+ Multi-Purpose Operational Space: The AOPV provides a multi-purpose space where operational planning and mission execution will be coordinated.

+ BAE Mk 38 Gun: This 25mm Mk 38 machine gun system that features a highly accurate gun targeting and surveillance system, as well as the M242 Cannon. This systen can be employed to support domestic law enforcement roles. The system will be modified for protection against arctic conditions.

+ Enclosed Focsle and Cable Deck: The enclosed focsle and cable deck will protect machinery on the foredeck and personal workspaces from harsh arctic environments.

+ Helicopter Capability: The AOPV has an embarked helicopter capability, and depending on mission requirements is able to accommodate ranging from small utility aircraft up to the new CH-148 maritime helicopter.

+ Cargo and Payloads management: The stern (rear) of the ship is able to accommodate multiple payload options such as shipping containers, underwater survey equipment, or landing craft. The ship is also equipped with a 20-tonne crane, providing self-load and unload capability.

+ Vehicle Bay: The arctic environment can vary drastically and in order to provide rapid mobility capability to personnel over land or ice, the AOPV has a bay for specialized vehicles such as pickup trucks, ATVs, and snowmobiles.

+ Diesel/Electric Propulsion: The AOPV will be powered by ‎two 4.5 megawatt (MW) main propulsion (induction) motors, and four 3.6 mega volt ampere (MVA) generators.

+ Retractable Active Fin Stabilizers: The retractable active fin stabilizers can be deployed to reduce ship roll while conducting open ocean operations, and can be retracted for operations in ice.

+ Multi-Role Rescue Boats: The multi-role rescue boats boast a top speed of 35+ knots (~65 km/h) and are 8.5 metres long. These water craft will be used in support of rescue operations, personnel transfers and boarding operations.

+ Bow Thrusters: The bow thrusters provides increased manoeuvrability for the ship and allows for berthing without tug assistance.

AOPS Missions:

The Harry DeWolf-class patrol ships be able to perform a wide variety of tasks, such as:

+ Provide increased presence and conduct surveillance operations throughout Canada’s waters, including in the Arctic;
+ Support Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) sovereignty operations;
+ Participate in a wide variety of international operations, such as anti-smuggling, anti-piracy or international security and stability;
+ Contribute to humanitarian assistance, emergency response and disaster relief domestically or internationally;
+ Conduct Search and Rescue (SAR) and facilitate communications among other ships;
+ Support CAF core missions including capacity building in support of other nations; and
+ Support other government departments in their ability to enforce their respective mandates.

The Harry DeWolf-class patrol ships will operate in the Arctic between June and October, providing a greater, and longer, CAF presence in the north. They will be capable of operating in first-year ice of 120-centimetre thickness. This will allow the Royal Canadian Navy to have unescorted access to areas of the Arctic that were previously inaccessible.

The Harry DeWolf-class patrol ships will have the ability to sustain operations for up to four months. The Nanisivik Naval Facility and RCN’s future support ships will further extend the operations by refueling and replenishing the ships.

The Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship project will also acquire integrated logistics support products, jetty infrastructures in Halifax and Esquimalt, and a berthing and fueling facility in Nanisivik, Nunavut.

Ships of the class:

This is the first time in its 108-year history that the RCN is naming a class after a prominent Royal Canadian Navy figure. The remaining vessels of the class are being named to honour other prominent Navy heroes.

The six Harry DeWolf-class ships are: (AOPV is the official RCN ship’s class designation)

+ Harry DeWolf (AOPV 430)
+ Margaret Brooke (AOPV 431)
+ Max Bernays (AOPV 432)
+ William Hall (AOPV 433)
+ Frédérick Rolette (AOPV 434)
+ The name of the sixth ship (AOPV 435) is yet to be officially announced

Construction of future HMCS Harry DeWolf started at Halifax Shipyard in September 2015 and the ship was launched on September 15, 2018. The vessel commenced her initial builder’s sea trials in 2019.

The future HMCS Margaret Brooke was launched on November 10, 2019, and is currently pier side where work continues to prepare the ship for sea trials and handover to the Royal Canadian Navy later this year.

Inside Halifax Shipyard’s facilities, the Royal Canadian Navy’s third and fourth AOPS, the future HMCS Max Bernays and the future HMCS William Hall, are under construction.

Over the next few decades, Halifax Shipyard will build six AOPS for the Royal Canadian Navy, two AOPS for the Canadian Coast Guard, and 15 Canadian Surface Combatants for the Royal Canadian Navy, as part of Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS).

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